UEFA president: Biennial World Cup would ‘cannibalise’ women’s game

(Photo by Rico Brouwer/Soccrates/Getty Images)

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin remains opposed to a biennial World Cup, saying that the women’s tournament and the Olympics would be affected by the change.

Both the UEFA and South America’s CONMEBOL have strongly opposed the idea. FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said that a biennial World Cup would generate an extra $4.4 billion in revenue for the organization.

“Europe and South America are against [the plan] and those are the only [continents with] World Cup winners in history. The problem is that the World Cup has to be every four years to be interesting,” Ceferin said at the Expo 2020 Dubai fair.

“Second, if it would be every two years, it would cannibalise women’s football because it would be at the same year as the women’s football [World Cup], other sports, the Olympic Games — many mistakes. It’s simply a bad idea and it will not happen because it is a bad idea, not because we are opposing it.”

Ceferin then pointed to the Olympics, stating that the event happens every four years so that people have something “you have to look forward [to], that you have to wait [for], and you have to enjoy it.”

“And [the World Cup is] the biggest football event — it has to be every four years. But it’s very clear — 75% of fans around the world reject the idea [of a biennial World Cup].”

Previously, former USWNT head coach Jill Ellis has said she supports the idea of a biennial World Cup as a way to grow the women’s game.

Players have also addressed the prospect publicly, with Becky Sauerbrunn saying FIFA needs to end “racism, homophobia and misogyny” in order to grow the women’s game rather than increase the World Cup frequency.

Alex Morgan said she sees both sides to the argument, but would like federations to improve their financial commitment to women’s soccer if they’re going to increase the number of World Cups.